Ab urbe condita (chronology)

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A. u. c. is the abbreviation for ab urbe condita or for Anno Urbis Conditæ . The unit of time was used for dating by the earliest chroniclers of the Middle Ages . It stands for the years "since the city ​​was founded " in ancient Rome . Its value is always 753 years greater than the year count in the Gregorian (western) calendar. The term post urbem conditam (abbreviated p. U. C.) Is also used less frequently .

This period from the founding of the city of Rome is also called the Varronic era . The foundation date was the Roman polyhistor Marcus Terentius Varro on April 21, 753 BC. Back calculated.


Different counts

According to the Varronic calendar founded by Varro, Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus 440 years after the fall of Troy . Based on the year 1193, Varro determined the spring of the year 753 BC. The census established by Cato ("Catonische" or "Capitolinische") was used more rarely, which placed the city foundation in the first year of the 7th Olympiad (752 BC).

The Romans of the classical period did not, however, have the years a. u. c. counted, but with the annually changing consular offices. The census since the founding of the city was only used systematically around the year 400 AD, namely by the Iberian historian Orosius . Theodor Mommsen also used it in an antiquated way (e.g. in constitutional law ).

Other ancient information deviating from this come from Hellanikos of Lesbos (around 1180 BC), Timaeus of Tauromenion (814 BC), Hieronymus (755 BC), Lucius Tarrutius (October 4, 754 BC) . Chr.), Polybios (751 BC), Quintus Fabius Pictor (748 BC) and Lucius Cincius Alimentus (729 BC).


It is controversial whether the Varronic count was even used to indicate the year in antiquity. The Romans used the officiating consuls to denote the years . In the east of the empire there were numerous eras, e.g. B. the Seleucid era , widespread; later the Diocletian era came into use, which was eventually replaced by the Christian year counting ( Anno Domini ).

In ancient times, the Varronic count was important for the holding of secular celebrations, i.e. the centenary celebrations of the founding of Rome, which were first held under Emperor Claudius in 47 (800th anniversary celebration). In the year 147/148 Antoninus Pius celebrated the 900th anniversary. The 1000th anniversary celebration took place under Philip Arabs in the year 248.

The counting of years from urbe condita was only widespread in the Middle Ages.

Spread of the Christian calendar

The Varronic calendar was replaced by the Christian count proposed by the monk Dionysius Exiguus in 525, but not before the 8th century. Initially only limited and observed to a small circle in Rome, his time calculation gained more and more importance and in the 10th and 11th centuries superseded the other time calculations in the Christian world.

Dionysius no longer counted the years as usual, after the era of Diocletian , but from incarnatione Domini , since the incarnation (birth) of Christ . But when converting the years into "after Christ's birth" the monk miscalculated - according to today's knowledge he set the birth of Jesus of Nazareth to be four or seven years too late, because Jesus was born during the lifetime of Herod the Great , who after today's dating in the year 4 BC BC died. Probably Dionysius Exiguus forgot that the name of the emperor Augustus in the years 30-27 BC. Chr. Was different, namely Emperor Caesar Divi filius .



Before the founding of Rome (ante urbem conditam):

  • The year ante u. c. is the year v. Chr.
  • The year v. Chr. Is the year ante u. c.

After the founding of Rome before Christ:

  • The year a. u. c. is the year v. Chr.
  • The year v. Chr. Is the year a. u. c.

According to Christ:

  • The year a. u. c. is the year AD
  • The year AD is the year a. u. c.

As a reminder for year one is shopping rhyme : five seven, three - Rome out of the egg.


245 a. u. c. = 754−245 = 509 BC BC (beginning of the republic )
2 ante urbem conditam = 755 BC Chr.
1 ante urbem conditam = 754 BC Chr.
1 ab urbe condita = 753 BC (according to legend, the year Rome was founded )
2 a. u. c. = 752 BC Chr.
750 a. u. c. = 4 v. BC (year of death of Herod the great );
751 a. u. c. = 3 v. Chr .;
752 a. u. c. = 2 v. Chr .;
753 a. u. c. = 1 v. Chr .;
754 a. u. c. = 1 after Christ;
755 a. u. c. = 2 AD
2773 a. u. c. = 2020 AD

See also


  • Carsten Colpe : Background of the Christian era. Theological concept and political intention in the calendar of Dionysius Exiguus. In: Berlin Theological Journal. Vol. 16, 1999, ISSN  0724-6137 , pp. 232-357.

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